“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home,” so went the quote by renowned British Poet and Author, Edith Sitwell.
In India, the onset of winter is marked by a chill in the air, affection for ‘chai’, and a variety of comfort foods to enjoy.
Traditionally, during winters, people usually indulge in heavy and fatty foods like parathas, pakodas and similar other sweets and snacks. While these foods help in keeping us warm, there is always room for eating light and organic food, without burdening our health.
S Madhusudhan, Chief Farmer, back2basics shares some unique organic recipes for winter that are both healthy and delicious.
Soups and Stews
Soups and/or stews are perhaps the most comforting foods enjoyed during winters. In India, soups are more commonly made in the form of Shorba, which is a type of soup/stew made with either meat or vegetables. Let us check out some winter recipes for soup.
1) Lemon and coriander soup -- Being a rich source of vitamin C, lemon helps in boosting the immunity, and helps keep ailments like cough & cold at bay. Similarly, coriander is a great source of dietary fibre, iron, vitamin K and protein. Make a clear soup using fresh ingredients like cabbage, spinach, mushroom, and add salt and pepper as required. You can also add prawns, or grilled or poached chicken to make it more filling. Garnish with a sprig of coriander and enjoy a hot, comforting meal.
2) Carrot and beetroot soup -- Carrots have long been considered as one of the healthiest root vegetables as it has a high content of beta-carotene and fibre. It is also a good source of vitamins, potassium and manganese. Likewise, beetroots are a good source of vitamin C and B vitamin folate. When combined, these vegetables create an extremely nutritious and healthy meal that can help one keep various ailments at bay. Slightly saute chopped carrots and beetroots in a pan with some ginger, cumin, and warm herbs like bay leaves, and then puree the same to get a thick consistency. Strain the same, and enjoy a bowlful of goodness.
For a quick and healthy snack between meals, make appetizers using organic ingredients to satisfy those hunger pangs in a healthy way.
1) Potato and green pea cutlet -- Yes, even the typical Tikki/cutlet we find on roadside eateries can be made into a healthy appetizer with some tweaks. While potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6 and potassium, green peas are rich in vitamin K, manganese, vitamin B1, phosphorus and folate. Simply boil potatoes and shallow fry them along some peas, chilli and other herbs and spices. Blend into a course mixture and add gram flour to help combine and form its shape into a rough circle. Shallow fry and serve hot with mint chutney.
2) Tofu and beetroot kabab -- Those who love to bring fusion in their cooking can prepare a tofu and beetroot kabab as a delicious and healthy appetizer. Now that we are aware of the benefits of beetroot, this nutrient packed vegetable makes for an even healthier snack with the addition of tofu, which is rich in protein and contains all the essential amino acids required for good health. Grate some beetroot and add in soft tofu, along with some garlic, garam masala, and salt to taste. Mix it to make rough patties and shallow fry them on a flat pan over medium heat. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with a light condiment or green chutney.
It is extremely important to have healthy and filling meals to keep oneself warm and active during the winter season. Whether you have the following for lunch or dinner, these recipes can provide essential nutrients that can significantly boost an individual’s immunity towards various ailments.
1) Sarson ka saag -- A typical Punjabi dish, Sarson ka saag has been part of Indian food culture for a long time. Traditionally paired with makki roti (flat bread made with maize flour), this dish is prepared by combining mustard greens and spinach and flavored with Indian spices, and desi ghee. This meal is reach in high levels of antioxidants and fibre, and a good source of vitamin C.
2) Fish curry with assorted vegetable -- Fish are a good source of protein and an excellent alternative for those who wish to avoid red meat. Most species like Indian carp (Rohu) and salmon are rich in healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids that help lower triglycerides levels and have been linked to improve brain functioning. To prepare this dish, clean and lightly fry pre-cut fish in a deep wok. Prepare a basic curry using assorted vegetables that have been organically grown, and flavor with spices and herbs as per requirements. Add in coconut milk, stir and gently place the fish, and cook till the fish is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
No meal is ever complete without dessert. Here are some simple and healthy dessert recipes that are guaranteed to satisfy one’s craving.
1) Gajar Ka Halwa -- No dessert is as Indian in essence as Gajar Ka Halwa, a sweet pudding made with grated carrots, milk, and sugar. This winter staple is regularly made in Indian homes during winter and is a great source of energy. Packed with nutrients from carrots, this dish also contains healthy dry fruits like almonds, making it an extremely good source of essential dietary requirements for growing children.
Each of the aforementioned recipes is full of nutrients and can help in improving an individual’s health in the long run. In addition, since organic produce are free of chemicals and pesticides, it can automatically make these dishes a much healthier alternative to traditional winter foods.
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